Last night I filled out all of the necessary back-to-school forms for my kids and wrote out the also-necessary checks (it’s funny just how much money one has to pay for public schools nowadays–from PE clothes to textbooks to tech-related fees). This was the first year that our district went with online form handling, so instead of me filling in the same information repeatedly on different forms, the kids and I sat with our laptops in a circle and clicked through each form together. It was far smoother than years past, and was also far more fun given that they can type just as fast as me. Really, the only think they needed me for was for health insurance details and to sign those checks.
Today marks the return of students to Chapman University. Typically I get to work long before anything is stirring on campus. I love the quiet hours of the morning to get an edge on my workday and I also love that the traffic is much lighter before 7am. But this morning, the campus was already abuzz with workers, administrators, and staff when I arrived. In a few hours I expect to look at the windows of Memorial Hall and see the lawn filled with anxious teens and even-more-anxious parents. I expect that there will be many checks written today as those parents buy books for their kids and university sweatshirts for themselves.
Given that new beginnings are in the air, you might notice that this blog has a bit of a facelift. It’s going to be an ongoing process as the look and the interface of this blog evolve over the next few weeks. As the blog changes, I’m also reconsidering how MHP fits in to my overall work as a scholar and how I can best maintain the podcast in the upcoming year. This past year saw a transition from me doing interviews to broadcasting event-based podcasts. While I loved the podcasts from The Past’s Digital Presence conference and the China Beat, I’m hoping to return to more interviews this next year. I miss the intimacy of those conversations, and I suspect that my listeners do, too.
What’s on your mind at the beginning of this new school year?